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ViaCyte gets $10.1M for diabetes therapy

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ViaCyte Inc. scored a $10.1 million award from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) to continue working on a transformative cell therapy that has the potential to essentially cure patients with type 1 diabetes.

The San Diego-based regenerative medicine company has been supported by several previous rounds of funding from CIRM, including a $20 million Disease Team Award in 2009.

That support has directly aided the development of VC-01, a product consisting of pancreatic beta cell progenitors encapsulated in a durable macroencapsulation device.

When implanted under the skin of a patient with diabetes, VC-01 is expected to produce insulin and other factors that should safely and effectively control their disease.

The stem cell-based product could also provide a powerful new treatment for those with the type 2 disease, added Dr. Paul Laikind, president and CEO of ViaCyte.

In its review of ViaCyte's application, CIRM's Grants Working Group characterized the company's proposed therapy as the "holy grail" of diabetes treatments.

ViaCyte recently held a successful Pre-IND meeting with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and is on track to file an Investigational New Drug (IND) Application and initiate clinical evaluation of VC-01 in 2014.

The Strategic Partnership Award from CIRM will be used to support those efforts.

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